Category Archives: Creative Writing

A Walk in the Park

“A walk in the park” is an idiom frequently used to express that something is easy. For example, “A triple somersault is as easy as a walk in the park.” Here, I’m using the expression literally and figuratively. The easiest part of my day is the walk I take in the park near my home.

It’s during my walk that I listen to an audio book or the news, but most often, I just think. It’s a time to rest my eyes, exercise my legs, and stir my mind. Most mornings, the park is  tranquil. The photo above illustrates one such serene morning. Other mornings, there are people everywhere enjoying little league sports or high school long distance track events. I enjoy the park when it is still and when it is active. My walks here make me feel connected to the planet and the human race.

Most recently, I’ve been listening to the audio version of the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The story is poignant and powerful and calls for one to be attentive. Many of you are familiar with the story and know there was nothing easy about the time in which the story takes place (Mississippi in the early 1960s). Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since those turbulent times; however, if we were to measure this period on the scale of time, it is but a heartbeat in the vastness of eternity. We have so much further to go. It has not been “a walk in the park” to remove racial boundaries. We find ourselves taking one step forward and two steps back more often than not. There is no easy button for harmonizing relations between people of different races, religions, and political ideologies.

Yet…if we can rid our psyches of the imaginary lines that separate us from others, it might be possible to speed our progression to acceptance. Ms. Stockett elegantly points out in the last third of her book, that what separates us from others is really imaginary. It’s all in our heads. We’re really all taking part in the same experiment -  the human condition. If only we could all be enlightened by this notion at the same time. What a “walk in the park” life could be.

Having Two Close Friends is Normal!

NaBloPoMo has challenged me to free write today (no prompt). I plan to share my thoughts on an article I recently read about the number of close confidants Americans have.

Guess what? Having hundreds of friends is a farce (Facebook comes to mind). Here are the facts according to a recent study by Matthew Brashears, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University. Of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 and older, 48 percent of participants listed one name, 18 percent listed two, and roughly 29 percent listed more than two names for close friends. Participants had 2.03 confidantes on average, and over 4 percent of participants didn’t list any names.

This information makes me wonder a lot about social media sites like Facebook. I have so many questions. Who is kidding who with those high friend numbers? Does confiding openly about your personal life to acquaintances from kindergarten through college and all places of employment matter if only two people actually read what you’re logging? Does a social media site protect you from the honest opinions of those closest to you? Is Facebook like a confessional where there are only blessings and no judgement? If you are judged, do judgements come from people whose opinion doesn’t really matter to you?  Wouldn’t your closest friends know what’s going on in your life without reading your Facebook wall? If so, why bother with that nonsense?

I could go on with this list of questions for days. I don’t understand the need for Facebook and other social media tools as vehicles for bonding. I only have a few close friends with whom I meet to share ideas, feelings, and personal events. Why would I want to exchange face to face interaction for a few paragraphs a week on Facebook? And if I did have something important to share and a meeting could not be arranged, wouldn’t an email be better than me sharing a blurb on Facebook?

I’m normal! According to this article I’m quite average when it comes to the number of my close friendships. I never thought I could be so happy being so ordinary.  I’m not a disgrace to the human race because I don’t have thousands of friends. What a relief!

But you’re a blogger and you have a Twitter account, you say. Yes I am a blogger and a tweeter, but guess what? I do both of these activities for myself; I like sharing information (e.g., knitting/crochet patterns, writing tips, recipes, etc.). I don’t view either as tools to stay in touch with friends or make new ones (though I have “virtually met” some very nice people). My friends know I blog and tweet, but my online activity is considered a hobby. They would never think of contacting through my blog or Twitter account.

My blog and Twitter account are creative outlets. I like getting useful information from the world wide web and I hope I’m sharing useful information. I have no interest in learning if high school Susie has just waxed her upper lip or learning that work colleague Bob trained his dog how to fetch a can of beer. That’s not the kind of information I care to know, and I certainly won’t share that type of information here. My blog is not a diary. News of a personal nature is what I share with my 2.03 friends over a cup of coffee or a few glasses of wine.

 

Pen or Computer – What’s Your Preference for Writing?

I have just involved myself in a writing exercise – NaBloPoMo.  It’s exercise that I desperately need. My hope is to be more successful in building writing muscles than I am at building muscles which protect my internal organs and hold up my skeleton. I lack diligence when it comes to physical exercise. If I’ve written a daily post from today until the end of November, I will consider myself a success!

I could start by writing about a topic I’ve chosen, but often that’s why I don’t write. I can’t think of what to write about, but that’s not honest; actually, I can think of plenty of things to write about. The real reason behind my reluctance to write is that I’m afraid to share. I worry about offending someone or revealing too much of myself. Fortunately for me, NaBloPoMo is providing writing prompts. Today’s prompt is: “When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?” This I can easily answer and I doubt I’ll offend anyone and I won’t reveal any secrets with my response.

I prefer a pen and paper if I write poetry and a keyboard and computer if I write prose.

Writing poetry is like painting with words and requires a tool that can be manipulated like a paintbrush. I need to scribble, scratch, and scatter words when writing poetry. A pen allows fluidity. I want to see the form the words take on paper when I draft poetry: poems have shape. Additionally, all those feelings extracted in the process of writing poetry flow much easier down my arm to a pen than they ever could to a keyboard.

Prose writing is much easier using a computer for two reasons. First, there is much more text in prose writing. Typing words is much more efficient that jotting them down with a pen. Additionally, I like to edit. This text will be edited many times before I publish the content. I may even come back at a later time and edit this content. Most writers will admit that they are never truly done with a work. They can always find better ways of expressing themselves.

I’m happy to have discovered NaBloPoMo today. I feel hopeful about the days to come and I look forward to expressing myself even if it feels a little uncomfortable.

The Writing Process – It’s Excrutiating!

I read this amusing article today about one writer’s writing process. His process is not unlike mine in that it happens whether or not I’m in front of a computer, and it is interrupted by all sorts of mundane activities; however, Mr. Lennon failed to mention that this inattention to physical writing has a lot to do with the pain of it.

Oh, it’s not so bad once you’ve struck a bit of gold, but mostly it’s like having poison ivy without the soothing calm of calamine lotion. Doing laundry, cleaning closets, taking out the garbage, eating, smoking, biting one’s fingernails, calling all those near and dear and some who aren’t, removing cat hair from sofa cushions, eating again, … ad infinitum… are all ways to diminish the pain of turning a blank document into one  filled with compelling verbiage. It’s damn hard. One paragraph can take all day, especially if you’re a writer-editor like me. I write two sentences and then edit. I’m amazed whenever I complete anything. Heck, this little blog post is going through my write-edit-write-edit process, and so far I’ve spent 30 minutes on it. Crazy! Imagine the time it takes for me to draft a research paper. I shiver when I think of it. I know somewhere in me there is a doctoral dissertation, but I don’t think I could manage the extra weight I’d gain from taking all of the necessary breaks; however, I imagine my house would be very, very clean.

Writing Challenge – Week of August 13, 2007

The Challenge:
146 words regarding:
As Jack Bauer’s personal tailor, you’re used to special requests, like sewing a Glock P36 into the sleeve, or exploding cufflinks that have to be added after 5:30 on a Friday (what a jerk!) but today, he takes the cake and asks for:

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jack: Since I started tracking down cyber criminals/computer geeks, I’ve lost muscle mass. I can’t see Senator Clinton like this [waves hands in front of his body]. Pierre, add some padding to my clothes! Give me some pecs, thighs, and boost the ol’ gluteus maximus.

Pierre: Eim not zum tailure fur tranZzexuals. Zees iz beeneeth moi. Ew muszt find unuther taylure. [brushes lint from his suit jacket] I vill not du zees.

Jack: You’re being overly sensitive buddy. I know you are an AR-teest; this is why I’m giving you this assignment. You’re the only man who can turn this around in 24 hours.

Pierre: I em very gude, aren’t I? [slips his thumbs behind his lapels] I avv dressed zee fineszt men in ze vorld. I vill do zees…only if ew let moi…add a codpeez.

Jack: They say a suit makes a man. This one sure as hell will.